Utah community leaders urge cooperation in keeping young kids out of gangs
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s gang problem is getting younger. Lawmakers are calling on the state to set aside money that would hopefully prevent gangs from recruiting little kids.
Elected officials say they’re hearing reports of fifth-graders already being involved in gangs, some of which are getting tattooed at a young age. Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera says, “Our last [gang-related] arrest was ten years old.”
Why are gang leaders targeting and enticing children? Senator Karen Mayne says young kids don’t get into as much legal trouble as adults do for committing crimes. Plus, she says kids are told to break into homes by fitting into small spaces adults can’t. “You’ll have a 35-year old gang member sending these children in to rob and to do their bidding for them… to deliver packages, to deliver drugs,” Mayne says.
She’s backing Senate Concurrent Resolution 12, which calls on lawmakers, educators and Utah’s citizens in general to combat against this problem. It also has funding attached to it. “That’s for $300 thousand now and $300 thousand every year, ongoing,” she adds.
The funding is specifically aimed for programs that will keep kids away from gang members. Mayne says, “The teachers who spoke to me say when they had after-school programs, it was better because the kids could have something to do after school and the counselors could see those children that were at risk.”
Today’s Top Stories
- Sugar House locals worry 2100 South poses threat to safety and business
- Former American Fork soccer coach arrested on charges of child sexual abuse
- Suspect in Wednesday’s I-15 shooting is named, booked into jail
- Confrontation with bicyclist sends UTA bus driver to hospital
- Semi rollover on Legacy Highway reduces traffic to one lane
- Hidden cameras found in restrooms in U of U Student Life Center, suspect in custody
- The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success
- Man arrested in relation to Provo Towne Center Mall bomb threat
- Storm bringing wind and snow to northern Utah
- Utah County man pleads guilty to death of West Jordan teenager